Tag Archives: Binjali Repair Shop

Neogenesis – Chapter 4

Vivulonj Prosperu

In which Daav and Aelliana explore the boundaries of their new situation.

It is a good question, how the Tree knew they’d need those particular seed pods; we’ve had cause to ask similar questions before, though usually not involving such a complicated and unpredictable chain of events. I don’t find the suggestion that the pods would never have ripened if they hadn’t been needed reassuring, because it suggests that the pods are themselves aware of their surroundings and capable of interpreting events, which is a disconcerting attribute to ascribe to (a) a small lump of vegetable matter with no apparent nervous system, and (b) something one has recently eaten.
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In which Vertu dea’San decides that somebody ought to do something.

This story is, among other things, a valuable reminder that while Korval were happy enough to be thrown off Liad for their part in the Battle of Solcintra, there are others served similarly for whom it might not be so pleasant.

Reading a story featuring “galan’ranubiet” (Treasure of the House) and “galandaria” (compatriot), I find myself wondering after the meaning of “yos’Galan”.

I said a few days ago I was going to have something more to say about taxis. The bulk of this story takes place at a time when there’s only one licensed taxi driver in Surebleak Port City, and even at the end of the story the number has only grown to three, with some consideration being given to a fourth. That sets it before the climactic sequence of Necessity’s Child, which contains at least three active taxis and likely more.

(So why have I scheduled it after? We’ll come back to that.)

Now let us consider the other major indicator of when it’s set: the passing of the seasons. The main section of the story takes place in local winter, at some point after Korval came to settle on Surebleak, with the last section taking place early in the following spring. That’s straightforward enough.

Now we have two choices:

Ghost Ship tells us that Korval settled on Surebleak before winter turned to spring, that Theo’s visit occurred during late spring (this point is made on multiple occasions), and that the event which kicks off the plot of Necessity’s Child occurred a few weeks before the onset of summer. This seems to fit: Vertu arrives during Korval’s first winter, joins Jemie in the taxi business, and they spend the spring building up the business to a point that will account for the flock of taxis bringing people to the new school when it opens in early summer. The bit near the end of this story, with Vertu and Jemie in early spring considering diversifying into the ground-courier business, meshes nicely with Jemie’s cameo in Ghost Ship, in late spring, delivering a courier message.

However. Necessity’s Child itself claims to begin in late winter, which would put the school opening in early spring, and allow little if any time for the building of the taxi fleet.

After due consideration, I have decided I prefer the timeline suggested by Ghost Ship, and not just because it’s more insistent about it. (Ghost Ship, as I said, mentions the season repeatedly, while the beginning of Necessity’s Child does so only once – and, for that matter, the school opening scene has a mention of how warm the day is, which might be taken to mean that even the end of Necessity’s Child disagrees with the beginning about what time of year it is.)

There are still a couple of more short stories and a novel set on Surebleak which I haven’t read yet because they all came out after I began the re-read; I’ll be interested to see when they claim to be set.

(When I was scheduling the re-read, the one detail I remembered from all this confusion was that Ghost Ship was set in spring, but I forgot that it said Korval had been there since winter, so I thought Vertu’s first winter on Surebleak must be after both Ghost Ship and Necessity’s Child, and scheduled “Skyblaze” accordingly. If I were doing it now, I would definitely put “Skyblaze” before Necessity’s Child.)

Tomorrow: “Roving Gambler”, one of those stories set on Surebleak that I haven’t read yet.

Saltation – Chapter 36


In which Theo meets Win Ton again.

Now it’s definitely after the Battle of Solcintra; not long after, because the news has arrived at Volmer within the last few hours, while Theo was resting.

It took me a moment to get why Theo gets the more friendly greeting the second time she visits the Guild, but of course it’s because this time she’s wearing her jacket.

More foreshadowing of the news from home that’s awaiting Theo: although she doesn’t know it, she does have a personal interest in news of Ride the Luck and its pilot. But that’s still not the news of the moment… yet.

(It’s an amusing bit of outsider viewpoint that Pilot Vitale considers Korval “the most Liaden you can get”, especially considering the opinion Liad itself has recently expressed on that point.)

I Dare – Chapter 57

Day 59
Standard Year 1393


In which the Council of Clans throws Korval into the briar patch.

The Delm Hedrede who delivers the Council’s judgment here is not the same Delm Hedrede who clashed with Korval thirty years ago in Scout’s Progress – different pronouns – but it does make me wonder if Hedrede has a personal investment in Korval getting booted off the planet.

There’s a neat bit of narrative sleight of hand with the problem of what to do with the dies: the problem is carefully laid out, then just as Val Con is about to suggest a solution, the conversation is interrupted. The reader is left to assume that a solution is found without the authors having to actually come up with one.

Tomorrow and tomorrow: Revisiting old friends and seeing how they’re affected by recent events, in “Misfits” and then the remainder of Saltation.

I Dare – Chapter 56

Day 56
Standard Year 1393


In which Pat Rin faces the judgment of his delm.

I’m not sure what to make of the bit about Val Con looking enough like Pat Rin to be “a younger edition of himself”. That seems too specific to be just family resemblance, particularly since Cheever’s met enough of Pat Rin’s relatives to have some range on the family resemblance already, although those were second cousins, and Val Con is a first cousin. A side effect of Line yos’Phelium gene-selecting for delm traits, maybe? Val Con was bred to be delm, and Pat Rin is descended from those bred to be delms even if he wasn’t himself (and he might have been, despite his mother, if the old delm had hope of getting the bloodline back on track). Or maybe the resemblance is not only genetic but also increased by a similarity of expression or attitude arising from a similarity of melant’i: Val Con, the delm of Korval, and Pat Rin, who might have been delm of Korval and has certainly been the something-very-like-a-delm of Surebleak. Anyway, it explains why people are going to mistake them for brothers when they start being seen in the same places.

After all the worry Pat Rin spent on showing up in front of the delm wearing a pilot jacket he doesn’t feel entitled to, Val Con doesn’t give it a second look until Pat Rin draws attention to it. Apparently, he doesn’t find anything implausible in the idea of Pat Rin having qualified as a pilot since they last met.

I Dare – Chapter 55


In which the Captain acts for the safety of the passengers.

The mode of Ultimate Authority, which is referred to twice in this chapter, has, perhaps unsurprisingly, not come up much before: three times in the series up to this point. Priscilla adopts it briefly when putting Sav Rid Olanek in his place at the end of Conflict of Honors; Commander of Agents is said in Carpe Diem to use it when dealing with his underlings; and Val Con, greeting the Tree in Plan B, places the Tree in the position of ultimate authority.

The fact that it’s used twice in this chapter, and by whom, is the central conflict in a nutshell: the first is Commander of Agents again, and the second is Miri when she takes on the melant’i of Liad’s Captain. And I think it says something that, whereas Miri adopts the mode temporarily and in a situation where she is in fact the duly-appointed ultimate authority until the emergency is resolved, the Commander is not only self-appointed but apparently expects to be regarded as the ultimate authority all the time.

There’s a leap near the end of the chapter that I’ve never been able to follow. After the doomsday weapons are activated, ter’Fendil says he can deactivate them if Val Con gives him the control device, and Val Con does. Then it cuts to another scene, and when it cuts back everybody’s running for their lives and talking about the urgent need to do something before the weapons break out and start killing everybody. Is there something missing, or is it just me missing something?

I Dare – Chapter 51

Day 54
Standard Year 1393

Dutiful Passage

In which various people spend time in transit.

I haven’t been noting it every time a relevant detail has come up, but I think by now we have to acknowledge that in the Liaden universe cats are sapient and capable of dramliz-type abilities. Some cats, anyway. Merlin, at least. (Come to that, I wonder if Val Con knew how appropriate the name was when he chose it…)

I feel like I should say something about the scene with Hazenthull and Nelirikk, but nothing particular is coming to me.

It’s good to see Trilla again.

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 39

In which Daav plans his Balance against the enemy which took Aelliana.

I’m interested by the implication that the thoughtfulness of Daav’s Balance here owes something to his previous experience of loss and Balance, which taught him the limitations of the method of direct reprisal.

Using that Diary entry as the chapter heading also provides another more subtle bookend: the last time it was used was on the chapter in which Daav and Aelliana first met.

It’s a bit difficult to know how much to talk about what else happens in this chapter when it hasn’t been explicitly called out yet, even though as a re-reader I know — and, since this is a prequel, even on the first read I knew — what’s going on. I think I’ll save that for next time.

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 18

In which Kiladi gets the third degree, Ride the Luck gets a job offer, and Clarence O’Berin gets a mixed reception.

This appears to be a chapter for Daav to encounter old acquaintances (“friends” is too strong a word for some of them, if not all). There is Clarence O’Berin, the Juntavas Boss who Daav met in “The Beggar King” (which is already 15 years ago, although one imagines they’ve met again a time or two since then). There is the merchant Gus Tav bel’Urik, who was one of the guests at the gather Daav held for his betrothed in Local Custom. And there is Scholar Expert Jen Sar Kiladi, who is clearly someone Daav knows well, though for now we are getting only hints as to how.

Clan Hedrede has gone up in the world. Aelliana notes here that they are High House; when last we heard of them, in Scout’s Progress, they were in the Mid rank. It was noted that they were in the top 5% of the Mid rank, but it was also noted that they’d been there, apparently content, for many years. And now, apparently, something has changed. One can’t help wondering if it had anything to do with that incident that occurred when last we heard of them.

The nature of Tey Dor’s establishment, at which Aelliana and Daav have an appointment following lunch, is not elaborated on here, but it’s established elsewhere that it revolves around guns and the shooting thereof. It would appear that firearm proficiency is one aspect of the preparations they’re making for the courier life.

As this is apparently a thing I notice now, Aelliana and Daav’s lunch is once again meatless; the soup is noted as being a vegetable chowder.

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 16

In which Aelliana deals with some outstanding business.

If I have the timeframe figured out correctly, Aelliana began teaching the advanced seminar for Scouts about the time Daav was obliged to leave the Scouts and take up the Delm’s Ring. One wonders whether, had Daav been able to remain a Scout, he and Aelliana might have crossed paths much sooner.

Mr dea’Gauss continues in the mode of servant to lord, addressing Aelliana as “my lady”, until she asks that he address her as Pilot or Scholar and not offer her more honor than she has earned; then he follows her into a more equal mode and switches to addressing her as “Pilot”. I notice, though, that by the end of the conversation he’s back to addressing her as “my lady”, apparently having formed his own conclusions about how much honor she has earned from him.